Chestertown, MD, February 8, 2005 — In celebration of Black History Month, Washington College's Sophie Kerr Committee presents “Langston Hughes's Early Life in the West,” a lecture by Denise Low, visiting poet in residence at the University of Richmond, Thursday, February 17, at 4:30 p.m. in the Sophie Kerr Room, Miller Library. The talk is free and the public is invited to attend.
Denise Low is the author, with her husband T. F. Pecore Weso, of Langston Hughes in Lawrence: Photographs and Biographical Resources, which examines the poet's boyhood life in Lawrence, Kansas. Although Hughes achieved fame as a poet during the Harlem Renaissance, those who label him “a Harlem Renaissance poet” restrict his fame to only one genre and one decade. In addition to his work as a poet, Hughes was a novelist, columnist, playwright, and essayist, and though he is most closely associated with Harlem, his life and experiences in the American West profoundly influenced his writing and impressions of race, community, and ethnicity.
Low grew up in the Flint Hills of Kansas, one of the largest remaining unplowed grasslands on the continent. She received a Ph.D. in English from University of Kansas and MFA in Creative Writing from Wichita State University, and has published ten books of poetry. Her poems and personal essays have appeared in Arts & Letters, North American Review, Connecticut Review, Midwest Quarterly, and others. She also reviews for the Kansas City Star and Midwest Quarterly.
The talk is sponsored by the Sophie Kerr Committee, which works to carry on the legacy of the late Sophie Kerr, a writer from Denton, MD, whose generosity has done so much to enrich Washington College's literary culture. When she died in 1965, Kerr left the bulk of her estate to the College, specifying that one half of the income from her bequest be awarded every year to the senior showing the most “ability and promise for future fulfillment in the field of literary endeavor” and the other half be used to bring visiting writers to campus, to fund scholarships, and to help defray the costs of student publications.